Monthly Archives: May 2014

Viral meningitis outbreak receding in Georgia

By | May 31st, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Also at Kutaisi hospital, the number of cases is falling. 63 people were infected in Georgia’s second largest city. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–About 200 viral meningitis patients out of 400 have left hospital, according to Georgia’s Health Minister, Davit Sergeenko. He says the number of cases of viral meningitis has gone down in the large cities, after the outbreak peaked on May 23. […]

Youth for legalizing marijuana plan demonstration

By | May 31st, 2014|Categories: News, Youth|Tags: |

From last year’s demonstration. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Youth in Georgia also this year plan to demonstrate for decriminalizing marijuana. On June 2 last year, there was a large rally outside the old parliament building in Tbilisi for legalizing pot, and this year’s rally is planned at the government […]

Details published about Saakashvili’s travel expenses

By | May 30th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Publicity photo of former President Mikheil Saakashvili published on the eve of his leaving office in November, 2013. TBILISI, DFWatch–Former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili spent GEL 1,533,222 (USD 866,000) of public money on official visits during his last year in office. According to the report published by Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) […]

Youth Parliament – learning to put words into action

By | May 30th, 2014|Categories: News, Youth|Tags: , |

Teona Lavrelashvili, founder of Georgian Youth Parliament. TBILISI, DFWatch–In Georgia, a group of young students have created their own parliament. It has 100 MPs and prepares real draft laws which are sent to the real parliament. A few weeks ago, this youth parliament held its 2014 opening session in the parliament […]

A lost Georgian letter & Europe’s idealist deficit

By | May 30th, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Tedo Japaridze is Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations in the Parliament of Georgia. Recently, I made a discovery of the kind that spices up historians’ books. In my archive, I discovered a draft of a letter by Zviad Gamsakhurdia, the first Georgian President, directed to Secretary James Baker. The date was 1991. These were devastating but hopeful […]

Search for bodies continuing after May 17 landslide

By | May 30th, 2014|Categories: Environment, News|Tags: , |

The mud from the May 17 landslide in Dariali clogged the river Tergi and may have killed up to seven people. TBILISI, DFWatch–Nearly two weeks after a catastrophic landslide hit Dariali Valley in the Caucasus mountains, the search is continuing for four people who are still missing. Three have been found dead. The Road Department in Georgia is working in two shifts to clean […]

Parole commission releases 79 prisoners

By | May 30th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

Prison No 8 in Gldani, Tbilisi. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The parole commission decided at a session Tuesday to release 79 prisoners. According to the Prison Ministry, 69 of those up for release are men, 10 are women. Two of the women had their sentence converted to community work. During the session, […]

Saakashvili ideologue to be adviser for new Ukraine president

By | May 29th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Kakha Bendukidze, a former economy minister for Saakashvili, will be adviser for Petro Poroshenko’s new economy council. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili is not to advise the new Ukrainian government, but his economy minister, Kakha Bendukidze, confirms that he has been appointed as an adviser to Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko. […]

Large street fight in eastern Georgian town

By | May 29th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

The clashes involved some 200 people of Azerbaijani and Georgian ethnic origin. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Wednesday night there was a street fight in a town south east in Georgia involving hundreds of youth. The fight took place in Gardabani, a town with a mixed Azerbaijani and Georgian population. Claims vary about what started the scuffle. Some […]

Merkel meets premiers of Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova

By | May 29th, 2014|Categories: Europe, News|Tags: , , |

Georgian PM Irakli Gharibashvili (left), German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Ukraine’s PM Arseniy Yatseniuk. (Official photo.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The prime ministers of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine on Wednesday met with Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel in Germany. “We would like people to know that which road to choose, and our meeting today is held exactly for this [purpose],” […]

KaZantip festival will go ahead in Crimea after all

By | May 28th, 2014|Categories: News, Youth|Tags: |

An offshoot of the KaZantip festival is being organized in Georgia, but it will also be held in its original location in Crimea. (Publicity photo.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The electronic dance music festival KaZantip will be held in Crimea after all. Earlier it was announced it had moved to Georgia. For the last 22 years, KaZantip has been held in Crimea. But this year, it was first announced it had moved to Georgia, […]

Georgian foreign minister visiting U.S.

By | May 28th, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze is visiting the U.S. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze on Tuesday began an official visit to the United States which will last until May 30. According to the Foreign Ministry’s press office, Panjikidze will hold meetings with representatives of different […]

‘Coup attempt’ in Abkhazia

By | May 28th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The opposition in Abkhazia Tuesday night took over the presidential administration in Sukhumi and demanded the resignation of President Alexander Ankvab. A new caretaker government claims to be in control of the breakaway region, led by Raul Khajimba, […]

Former Tbilisi mayor brutally attacked

By | May 28th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Zurab Chiaberashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Ex-Mayor of Tbilisi and National Movement member Zurab Chiaberashvili was attacked in the cafe in Tbilisi on Tuesday. The attackers allegedly were Rezo Tabukashvili and director Giorgi Mgeladze. Chiaberashvili told journalists at the hospital […]

Georgian president transfers signing power to PM

By | May 27th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

President Giorgi Margvelashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili has transferred the right to sign an Association Agreement with EU to the prime minister for him to sign. Who will sign the AA has been a subject of debate the last few weeks. Government officials have […]

Davit Kezerashvili acquitted of cognac fraud

By | May 27th, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

Davit Kezerashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Tbilisi City Court on Tuesday acquitted former Defense Minister Davit Kezerashvili of cognac fraud. Kezerashvili, who is under house arrest  and electronic surveillance in France after being detained at Nice airport last year and then released in February, was charged by Georgian authorities in February, 2013, with assisting […]

Georgian soldiers took oath on Independence Day

By | May 27th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

Soldiers took an oath and were greeted by their commander-in-chief, President Giorgi Margvelashvili. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Thousands of people came to downtown Tbilisi to mark Independence Day on Monday. The day was celebrated in 12 cities and towns all over the country. There was no military parade, which used to be a tradition during the Saakashvili government, but the new […]

School closure in Georgia extended four days due to virus

By | May 27th, 2014|Categories: News, Youth|Tags: |

Kindergartens and schools will remain closed at least until the end of the week, due to an outbreak of viral meningitis. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian kindergartens and schools up to sixth grade will remain closed until the end of the week to deal with an outbreak of viral meningitis. The schools should have been opened today, but Health Minister Davit Sergeenko announced Monday that they […]

Speculations about Saakashvili’s Kiev role celebrated by UNM

By | May 27th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Mikheil Saakashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Speculation that the new Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, might hire former Georgian leader Mikheil Saakashvili as an advisor, is cheered by the latter’s supporters in Tbilisi. It has not been possible for DF Watch to confirm a claim […]

Violence against women increasing in Georgia, group claims

By | May 26th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

The group Identoba claims violence against women is on the rise in Georgia, and that legislation meant to protect women is ignored. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The rights group Identoba held a demonstration Saturday outside the government office to highlight the problem of violence against women. The organization, which is most known for having organized a gay rights rally in May 2013 which was attacked […]

Meningitis cases rise to 306 in Georgia outbreak

By | May 26th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

Iashvili Hospital in Tbilisi. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The number of confirmed cases of viral meningitis in the last two months in Georgia has jumped to 306. According to Georgia’s National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC), 169 of the cases were in Tbilisi, 51 in Kutaisi, 18 in […]

Georgia celebrates independence without military parade

By | May 26th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

Although generally a people’s day, there will be a little military element to Georgia’s national day this year. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–For the second year in a row, Georgia will mark Independence Day without a military parade. The government has decided that Independence Day will be a people’s celebration and aimed at letting people take part. But even though there is no military […]

Scuffle outside National Movement office in Rustavi

By | May 25th, 2014|Categories: Elections, News|Tags: , , |

Georgian Dream and National Movement activists clashed in Rustavi Saturday. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A scuffle developed Saturday as supporters of the ruling Georgian Dream coalition demonstrated outside the National Movement’s party office in Rustavi, a city 20 km south of the capital. Mamuka Chikovani, the UNM candidate for Rustavi mayor, […]

Georgian president maintains signing power remains with him

By | May 25th, 2014|Categories: News, Politics|Tags: , |

President Giorgi Margvelashvili could delegate signing power to Prime Minister Gharibashvili when Georgia signs an association agreement with the EU June 27, an expert on the constitution suggests. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili maintains that he should sign Georgia’s association agreement with the EU, but says he wants to avoid a dispute about the issue. Shalva Tadumadze, parliamentary secretary of the government, said Friday […]

Third victim found after big landslide in Georgia

By | May 24th, 2014|Categories: Environment, News|Tags: , |

The third victim of the Dariali landslide was also found inside a hydro power tunnel. ( TBILISI, DFWatch–A dead body was found Friday night during the ongoing search and rescue operation following the landslide in Dariali Valley on May 17. This third casualty of the disaster was also found inside a tunnel that is part of a hydro power development […]

Mayor wins right to be reinstated weeks before end of term

By | May 24th, 2014|Categories: News, Politics|Tags: , |

Gigi Ugulava in court in March, 2014. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian Constitutional Court on Friday revoked a decision to suspend Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava pending a corruption trial, and he now plans to go back to work only weeks before the local election. Tbilisi City Court suspended Ugulava […]

Foreign trade growth confirmed Jan-Apr ’14

By | May 24th, 2014|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: |

(DF Watch photo.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s foreign trade turnover in the first four months of 2014 was USD 3,441 million, which is 14 percent more than in the same period last year. According to precise figures published by the National Statistics Department on Friday, export was […]

Continued speculation about who should sign Georgia’s EU treaty

By | May 23rd, 2014|Categories: News, Politics|Tags: |

Georgia’s treaty with the EU will be signed by Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili, although he is not head of state. Will that make the treaty invalid? (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–When Georgia signs an association agreement with the European Union in late June, it will be Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili who will do the signing. This is despite it clearly being stated in the constitution that the president is the one who signs […]

One more found dead after Dariali landslide

By | May 23rd, 2014|Categories: Environment, News|Tags: , |

A second person has been found dead after the catastrophic landslide in Georgia on May 17. ( TBILISI, DFWatch–One of the victims in the May 17 Dariali landslide has been found dead inside a tunnel that was dug out in connection with an ongoing hydro power development in the valley. The body most likely belongs to a truck driver, according to rescue workers, […]

Waiting to get away from Metalurg Sanatorium

By | May 23rd, 2014|Categories: Society|Tags: , |

Around sixty refugee families are living in unbearable conditions in Metalurg Sanatorium in Tskaltubo, Georgia. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–For more than 20 years, Eter, 74, has been living in Metalurg Sanatorium in Tskaltubo, a town in western Georgia. Apart from her, there are 60 families there; all refugees from the breakaway region Abkhazia. After Eter’s husband passed away, she […]

Family tragedy highlights violence against women

By | May 23rd, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A family tragedy has shocked Georgia and brought attention to the problem of violence against women. It appears that a Georgian man first killed his pregnant wife and then took his own life. The tragic incident unfolded in the village Ochkhamuri, […]

Hydro power tunnel searched for survivors after landslide

By | May 23rd, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

A hydro power tunnel that was flooded after a landslide on May 17 was searched for the first time Thursday. This is how the site looked in 2013. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–For the first time after the catastrophic landslide in Dariali on May 17, rescue crew made their way into a tunnel in search of survivors, Georgian TV channel Rustavi 2 reported Thursday. The tunnel, which is part of a hydro power plant under construction, […]

161 confirmed cases of viral meningitis in Georgia

By | May 22nd, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Health Minister Davit Sergeenko. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The number of confirmed cases of viral meningitis in Georgia increased from 142 to 161 Thursday, as the health minister calmed people’s fears and assured them that the virus is not spreading through the drinking water. A rumor that the virus […]

Music festival KaZantip moved from Crimea to Georgia

By | May 22nd, 2014|Categories: News, Youth|Tags: , |

It is common to bring yellow suitcases to KaZantip. (Publicity photo.) TBILISI, DFWatch–For the first time, the electronic dance music festival KaZantip will take place in Georgia, due to recent events in Ukraine. The festival has been held annually in Crimea since 1992. Now, following the Russian annexation of the peninsula, it is […]

Landslide update: search continues as hope fades away

By | May 22nd, 2014|Categories: Environment, News|Tags: , , , |

Some of the people rescued were workers at the Dariali hydro power plant. (Photo published on Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The rescue operation in Dariali Valley is continuing, though officials at the Emergency Management Department say there is now almost no hope of finding anyone alive. Seven people, Turkish and Ukrainian nationals and one Georgian, are still missing. […]

Schools closed in Georgia due to outbreak of viral meningitis

By | May 21st, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Health Minister Davit Sergeenko. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–An outbreak of viral meningitis has spread in schools and kindergartens in Georgia the last few weeks, with 142 confirmed cases so far. Kindergartens and schools up to 6th grade will be closed until May 27, while sanitary measures are being […]

Georgian government criticizes Maestro TV for bias

By | May 21st, 2014|Categories: Media, News|Tags: , , |

Program host Vakho Sanaia on Maestro TV. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian government has criticized a TV program for being biased, after it turned the spotlight on promises made by the government in the 2012 election campaign. The target of the government’s criticism is a program on Maestro TV called  […]

Six still missing after massive landslide in Georgia

By | May 21st, 2014|Categories: Environment, News|Tags: , |

Aerial shot from the day of the accident, published on Facebook. TBILISI, DFWatch–Six people are still missing after the landslide in Dariali Valley on May 17, among them Georgians, Ukrainians and Turkish citizens, according to the Georgian interior minister. 12 Turkish citizens were rescued out of a tunnel, while two drivers […]

Tserovani – the village of refugees from 2008 war

By | May 21st, 2014|Categories: Society|Tags: , |

Nino Chalisuli, 37, has four children and runs a small shop in Tserovani called ‘Everything for one lari’. (DF Watch.) TSEROVANI, DFWatch– Tserovani is a settlement of refugees from the breakaway region South Ossetia. People settled here in small cottages after the Russia-Georgia war in August 2008. More than 2,000 cottages were built in Tserovani after the war, housing many […]

Georgian government meets EU commissioners May 21

By | May 20th, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

President of the EU Commission José Manuel Barroso. (Europe Diplomatic Magazine.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian government will meet with EU commissioners in Brussels on May 21. First Deputy Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani says this is the first time such a meeting is being held. “This is an unprecedented format in EU-Georgia relations, which […]

Georgian media regulatory body gets new head

By | May 20th, 2014|Categories: Media, News|Tags: , |

(DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s National Communications Commission (GNCC) has elected Vakhtang Abashidze as new chairman. This is the first time a head of GNCC has been elected. Abshidze, the only candidate, received the support of all five commission members. During […]

Conservatives rally at GPB after gay rights debate

By | May 20th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A group of conservatives demonstrated outside the Georgian Public Broadcaster on Monday, demanding that the TV program Red Zone is closed down, after it dedicated its Saturday show to homophobia. May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia, […]

Campaign wants mobile operators to oversee surveillance

By | May 20th, 2014|Categories: NGO news|Tags: |

Campaigners object to parliament postponing the ‘secret key’ issue. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The ‘This Affects You Too’ campaign demands that parliament appoints a special session to review a package of amendments to better regulate secret surveillance and considers it ‘shameful’ that the assembly failed to reach a quorum last […]

New wave of bomb hoaxes in Tbilisi

By | May 19th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Tbilisi has been hit by a new wave of fake bomb threats. Law enforcers are conducting fruitless searches for bombs in public and private facilities. Ilia University was twice inspected on Monday and twice evacuated after there was a call made to the […]

Protests in support of ‘the invisibles’

By | May 19th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , |

Several protests were held in Tbilisi in support of the ‘invisible’. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Several protest events were organized in the streets of Tbilisi on Sunday to express support for gays, lesbians and other sexual minorities. This followed Saturday’s massive rallies by conservative groups, who marked the newly announced […]

One dead, seven missing after landslide

By | May 19th, 2014|Categories: Environment, News|Tags: , |

The government says three trucks were caught under the rock masses. (Photo published on Facebook.) TBILISI,DFWatch–Seven people are reported missing and one dead, according to the latest information from Dariali Valley, where a massive landslide struck Saturday morning. The government’s security and crisis management council on Sunday published a statement […]

One more Georgian detained on disputed SO border

By | May 19th, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , , |

One of the signs warning about the disputed border. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Russian soldiers on Sunday detained Otar Kokoshvili, 54, from the village Tamarasheni, near Kareli. He was taken to a detention facility in Tskhinvali, a central town in the breakaway region South Ossetia. According to his relatives, Kokoshvili […]

Anti-discrimination law needs effective enforcement

By | May 18th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , , , , , , |

From left to right: Zviad Devdariani, Giorgi Gotsiridze, Lina Ghvinianidze and Rusiko Machaidze. (Click to watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Representatives of NGOs say a new law recently introduced by Georgia to eliminate all forms of discrimination lacks an enforcement mechanism, and question whether it will be effective. DF Watch recently brought together Lina Ghvinianidze, […]

Conservatives rallied against gay rights on May 17

By | May 18th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , |

The Georgian Orthodox Church organized many events to mark its non-acceptance of homosexual lifestyle, which it considers a sin. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The International Day Against Homophobia was in Georgia transformed into a day of family values, which was the initiative of the country’s most influential person, the Patriarch. A number of rallies and events were held on May 17 against LGBT […]

Environmental group warned about landslide risk

By | May 17th, 2014|Categories: Environment, News|Tags: , |

An environmental group in Georgia says the hydro power project Larsi may have caused the massive landslide which struck Saturday. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–An environmental group in Georgia warned two years ago that constructing a hydro power station in Dariali Valley would increase the risk of landslides. Five people are missing and a hundred and fifty have been rescued out of the disaster area […]

Five missing after massive landslide in Georgia

By | May 17th, 2014|Categories: Environment, News|Tags: , |

The massive landslide may have killed three Turkish construction workers working on the Dariali hydro power project. (Photo posted to Facebook by Iago Kazalikashvili.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A landslide in Dariali Valley in northern Georgia has severed the only road across the Caucasus Mountain Range. Five people are still missing. Locals say three Turkish construction workers died who were working on the Dariali hydro power station. […]

Gay rights protesters displaced as conservatives reclaim May 17

By | May 17th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , |

Last year’s conservative demonstrators against the LGBT event May 17, 2013. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–There will be no gathering in Georgia today to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. Instead, the Church and conservative groups plan a number of demonstrations to celebrate the recently announced day of family values. At […]

Foreign trade turnover Jan-Apr up 14%

By | May 17th, 2014|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: |

Georgia’s foreign trade in the first four months of 2014 was 14% higher than the same period last year. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s foreign trade turnover in January-April of 2014 was 14 percent more than the same period last year, according to preliminary data from Georgian National Statistics Department. According to the short preliminary report published on Friday, […]

Surveillance bill review postponed

By | May 17th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Secret surveillance is to be regulated better in Georgia with a new legislative package. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Parliament in Georgia Friday postponed the review of a much-debated bill proposed by civil rights groups aimed at preventing illegal surveillance, a practice still rife in the country. The review was postponed because parliament was unable to reach a quorum. […]

Young inventors from 37 countries met in Tbilisi

By | May 16th, 2014|Categories: News, Youth|Tags: , |

This was the eighth Olympiad, and 120 inventors from 37 countries participated. TBILISI, DFWatch–International Young Inventors Project Olympiad (IYIPO) for scientists and inventors was organized in Tbilisi from May 3 to May 5. This was the eighth Olympiad, and 120 inventors from 37 countries participated. Last year, there were 25 countries […]

Georgia sees hope in NATO chief’s comment

By | May 16th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Secretary General of NATO. TBILISI, DFWatch–NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says the alliance will address its open-door policy at the Wales summit later this year, but it’s too early to say exactly how. He said this in response to a question about whether it’s possible […]

Who’s next?

By | May 16th, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Andrea Keerbs is Country Director of International Republican Institute, Georgia. When the Sarkozy Agreement was brokered after the brief war between Georgia and Russia in August 2008 it was expected that Russia would adhere to its terms. Six years on Georgians are still waiting for Russia to return back to the “boundaries” of August 7, 2008. […]

Former official found guilty of publishing sex tape

By | May 15th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

Gela Khvedelidze plans to appeal the one year suspended jail sentence. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Tbilisi City Court has found a former Georgian official guilty and given him a one year suspended sentence. Gela Khvedelidze was found guilty of having published a video of a private nature by posting it on the Internet one year ago, while he was […]

17 Georgian bladdernut pickers released by South Ossetia

By | May 15th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |

Jonjoli, or bladdernut, is a shrub used for cooking which may be harvested and sold in the market. (Ministry of Environment Protection.) TBILISI, DFWatch–17 Georgians were released by South Ossetia on Wednesday. They had all been detained on the border when they were out picking jonjoli, or bladdernut, a shrub used for cooking which may be sold in the markets. Now is the season for picking […]

Chechen denied to leave Georgia, fears being turned over to Russia

By | May 15th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , |

Saikhan Muzayev fears he will be secretly handed over to Russian counterintelligence. (Georgian Public Broadcaster.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A Chechen refugee with Georgian citizenship told parliament on Wednesday that he is being pressured by authorities. Speaking at a plenary session, Saikhan Muzayev said he has tried to leave Georgia ten times but was denied leaving every time. Tomorrow, […]

Speculations about why PM is to sign Georgia’s EU treaty

By | May 15th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili will sign Georgia’s association agreement with the EU, although he is not the head of state. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s Association Agreement with the EU will be signed by the prime minister, although he is not the head of state. In all of EU’s 28 member states, the Association Agreement with Georgia will be signed by the head of state, which usually […]

Georgia to sign EU treaty June 27

By | May 14th, 2014|Categories: Europe, News|Tags: , |

Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council. (Interpressnews.) TBILILSI, DFWatch–Georgia will sign an association agreement with the EU on June 27. Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili announced the date at a meeting with Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council. “We received confirmation that Georgia will sign the […]

The Trans-Caspian Pipeline – a strategic opportunity

By | May 14th, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Giorgi Vashakmadze is Director of W-Stream Ltd, a company which promotes the Trans-Caspian and White Stream gas pipeline projects. The EU is advocating stable and transparent regulatory rules for energy production and trade in countries that play an important role as energy suppliers, and especially in countries that are interested in closer ties with the EU. Transparent and stable regulatory […]

Premiere of comedy film about Gay couple postponed after threats

By | May 14th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: |

Poster of the comedy ‘We are Mad’ TBILISI, DFWatch–A film director and producer in Georgia has postponed the first screening of the new comedy about a gay couple because of the threats and fear that it might be seen as an attempt to destabilize the country. Otar Mikeladze and David Bezhitaishvili […]

Another EU visit: Rompuy expected in Tbilisi, after Hollande

By | May 13th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Herman Van Rompuy first visited Tbilisi in July, 2012. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–After French president Francois Hollande’s plane landed at Tbilisi airport Tuesday afternoon, the same day Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, is arriving for a two-day stay. It will be Rompuy’s second trip to Georgia, […]

François Hollande arrives in Georgia to strengthen EU ties

By | May 13th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

French President François Hollande arrived at Tbilisi airport Tuesday. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–French President Francois Hollande arrived in Tbilisi Tuesday at midday. Hollande’s visit is the last stop of a tour of the South Caucasus. He was arriving from Armenia where he spent Monday, and before that Azerbaijan on Sunday. Arriving […]

EU’s observers call for release of jonjoli pickers

By | May 13th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Jonjoli, or bladdernut, is a shrub used for cooking in Georgia. (Photo by Georgia’s Ministry of Environment Protection.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The European Union Monitoring Mission to Georgia (EUMM) calls on South Ossetia to release all Georgians detained for picking the plant jonjoli. Jonjoli, or bladdernut, is a shrub used for cooking in Georgia. It grows in the wild in areas adjacent […]

Georgian Dream claims UNM created fake party office

By | May 13th, 2014|Categories: Elections, News|Tags: , |

Georgian Dream activists in Tskaltubo clashed with another group of campaigners who they claim are actually from the National Movement. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Two groups of Georgian Dream coalition activists clashed during a campaign event Monday in Tskhaltubo, a town in western Georgia. One faction of activists asked the government for help, claiming that the coalition has two headquarters in Tskhaltubo, […]

Rustavi 2 under investigation for illegal wiretapping

By | May 13th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Head of Rustavi 2, Nika Gvaramia. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia has launched an investigation into surveillance recordings published by Rustavi 2. The case is based on suspicion that the recordings were illegally obtained and published, which if true means that the TV company […]

Georgian group calls on people to mark May 17 on the net

By | May 12th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , , |

The website calls on people to find creative ways to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, May 17. TBILISI, DFWatch–A website has been created in Georgia to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, May 17. The website is the creation of Identoba, an organization working to promote the rights of lesbians, gays and other sexual minorities. It was Identoba […]

Seven more Georgians detained on disputed SO border

By | May 12th, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , , |

Four Georgians were released by South Ossetia, but seven more detained. This leaves nearly twenty people in detention in Tskhinvali. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Russian border guards Monday detained seven more Georgians in villages bordering South Ossetia. The same day, four Georgians were released. This leaves nearly 20 Georgians who still remain in detention in Tskhinvali. The seven Georgians were detained […]

François Hollande arrives in Tbilisi on Tuesday

By | May 12th, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili (left) and French President François Hollande. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–French President François Hollande arrives in Georgia on Tuesday as part of his tour of the South Caucasus. Hollande’s trip takes place amid a crisis in Ukraine and is aimed at boosting the EU’s ties with the region, the French news agency AFP […]

Georgian patriarch declares May 17 a day of family values

By | May 12th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

Georgian Patriarch Ilia II. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian Orthodox Church wants to declare May 17 a day to celebrate strength of family, respect for parents and a memorial day. Last year, there were fierce street clashes on May 17 last year, as the gay and lesbian community sought to mark […]

Five Georgians released by South Ossetia

By | May 11th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

Five out of eighteen Georgians detained in South Ossetia were released on Saturday. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–South Ossetia on Saturday released five out of 18 Georgians detained for allegedly crossing the disputed border. 18 Georgians have been detained by Russian soldiers in the last two weeks in villages on the disputed border. According to the five  […]

NDI poll shows patriarch remains most liked in Georgia

By | May 10th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Patriarch Ilia II (seated, left) remains highly liked in Georgia, while former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili has had a drop in popularity. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A new poll published by National Democratic Institute (NDI) shows that Patriarch Ilia II remains the most liked person in Georgia. 96 percent of those asked say the like the patriarch. 61 percent say they like Davit Usupashvili, Speaker of Parliament; […]

Georgia plans people’s celebration on national day

By | May 10th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

Roses Square, Tbilisi, May 26, 2012. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–For the second year in a row, Georgia will not hold a military parade on its national day of independence May 26. Columns of military personnel and hardware filing past and saluting their commander in chief became a tradition while Mikheil […]

Who are behind the surveillance tapes at Rustavi 2?

By | May 10th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Nika Gvaramia (center), head of Rustavi 2. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Spokespersons for the Georgian Dream coalition say a claim by a TV station head that he and his staff are under police surveillance is staged and part of the National Movement’s election campaign. Head of Rustavi 2, Nika Gvaramia, claimed […]

Stalin bust unveiled in dictator’s hometown on V-Day

By | May 9th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

The bust of Stalin did not remain long, and is now kept inside the municipality building in Gori. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A bust of Joseph Stalin was Friday erected and taken down again the same day in the Soviet dictator’s hometown Gori, close to the Georgian capital. The bust was brought there by car and installed by members of a group called Eurasian Institute, […]

Eight more Georgians detained at disputed SO border

By | May 9th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |

A sign warning about the Russia-imposed border. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Interior Ministry has confirmed that 8 more Georgians have been detained today on the disputed South Ossetia border. Russian soldiers arrested 7 persons from the village Korbouli and one from the village Chala in the Imereti region, in western […]

48% of Georgians will vote for the ruling coalition

By | May 9th, 2014|Categories: Elections, News|Tags: , , |

Davit Narmania from Georgian Dream can be reasonably confident he will become Tbilisi mayor. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–48 percent of Georgians would vote for the Georgian Dream coalition if there were local elections tomorrow, a new polls shows. This the second part of a wider survey published by National Democratic Institute (NDI) on Thursday, contains the party […]

New charges against ex-minister detained in France

By | May 8th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

Davit Kezerashvili, former Georgian defense minister. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia has brought in new charges against former Defense Minister Davit Kezerasvili, who was detained in France last year. Davit Kezerashvili, who was announced wanted through Interpol, was detained in October, 2013, […]

Georgian president signs anti-discrimination law

By | May 8th, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian president has signed a new anti-discrimination law, and it has therefore come into force. The Georgian Orthodox Church was against the law because it in their opinion ‘legalizes homosexuality’, and wanted to remove ‘sexual […]

Two dead in building accident in Georgia

By | May 8th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Two workers died after the dome of a half-finished church collapsed in a small village in the Adjara region in the south western part of Georgia. The accident happened as five construction workers under the age of 30 were working on a new church […]

Georgian, Turkish and Azerbaijani presidents meet in Tbilisi

By | May 7th, 2014|Categories: Caucasus region, News|Tags: , , , , , , |

Turkey’s President Abdullah Gül (left) and Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The presidents of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey met in Tbilisi on Tuesday and celebrated the cooperation between their countries. The summit was initiated by the Turkish president and the main topic was three joint projects. Two of them are already […]

Georgia’s former ruling party loses its trademark ‘number 5’

By | May 7th, 2014|Categories: Elections, News|Tags: |

The number 5 has been the National Movement’s symbol in all recent elections. Here from a campaign rally in Tbilisi, August, 2012. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Central Election Commission has rejected the National Movement’s request to use the number 5 on the ballot-papers in the local elections in June. UNM, which is running alongside the Christian Conservative Party, said in a statement May 5 that […]

Rustavi 2 director claims police is watching him

By | May 7th, 2014|Categories: Media, News|Tags: , , |

Head of Rustavi 2 TV Nika Gvaramia claims he is under surveillance. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A Georgian TV company accuses the government of wiretapping and spying on its management and journalists. The accusations were put forth on Tuesday by Nika Gvaramia, director of Rustavi 2, the last major TV channel that remains faithful to former […]

Erisimedi – a village on the Georgia-Azerbaijan border

By | May 6th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , , , , , |

Ioseb Giuradze in Erisimedi says they have little contact with people on the other side of the border, but the situation is peaceful. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Erisimedi is a small village right on the Georgia-Azerbaijan border with a population of not more than a few hundred. It belongs to the Georgian municipality Sighnagi, but lacks a clear demarcation of the border with Azerbaijan, which has caused […]

Georgians are split on minorities issues

By | May 6th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , |

Demonstrators against accepting homosexuality, Tbilisi, May 17, 2013. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The latest survey of public attitudes, published by National Democratic Institute (NDI), shows that Georgians are split in their views on the need to protect minorities. When it comes to protection of gays, lesbians and other sexual minorities, […]

Suspect in brutal revenge attack placed in pre-trial detention

By | May 6th, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

Tbilisi City Court. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A man suspected of beating the brother of a former government official was Monday placed in pre-trial detention by Tbilisi City Court. Businessman Davit Kodia, brother of former police official Erekle Todua, was beaten a few days ago in Tbilisi while […]

Georgians less satisfied with their government

By | May 6th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Does ex-Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili pull the strings in government after he left office, is one the issues people were asked about in NDI’s poll. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–36 percent of Georgians think the country is definitely or mainly going in the right direction. This is significantly lower than in November 2013, when 53 percent were of the same opinion. This is one of the results presented Monday in the latest […]

Poll shows more Georgians see Russia as a threat

By | May 6th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

46 percent of Georgians are satisfied with the government’s response to the installation of barbed wire and fences by Russian soldiers, the NDI survey shows. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The number of people who think Russia is a real and existing threat to Georgia has increased by 14 percent compared to November. This is one of the findings in the latest survey of public attitudes by the National Democratic Institute, […]

Presidents of Georgia, Turkey, Azerbaijan meet in Tbilisi Tuesday

By | May 5th, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , , , , , |

The National Library in Tbilisi. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The presidents of Turkey and two South Caucasus countries will meet at the National Library in Tbilisi on Tuesday, to attend the 2014 Georgia-Azerbaijan-Turkey Summit. Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili is host for Turkey’s Abdullah Gül […]

Number of visitors to Georgia continues to grow

By | May 5th, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

Also the number of tourists to Georgia is increasing. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–New figures published by the Georgian Interior Ministry show that 390,685 people visited the country in April. This is 7.4 percent more than in the same period last year. In the first four months of the current year, 1,396,952 people visited […]

Transsexuals excluded from debate about discrimination

By | May 5th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , , |

Transsexuals demonstrated outside a TV studio in Gori Saturday, after being excluded from a debate about a new anti-discrimination law. (Trialeti.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Transsexuals demonstrated outside a TV studio in Georgia on Saturday because they were not allowed to take part in a debate about a new anti-discrimination law. Locals in Gori, a town close to the capital, came to the studio building of Trialeti TV […]

Street justice: brother of ex-official hospitalized in Tbilisi

By | May 5th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Davit Kodua, brother of wanted ex-official Erekle Kodua, was brutally beaten in Tbilisi Saturday. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The brother of a wanted former official in the Saakashvili regime was brutally beaten in Tbilisi on Saturday. The victim of the attack was Davit Kodua, brother of Erekle Kodua, a former top police official who is currently outside the country and internationally […]

Journalist breaks into endangered archaeological site

By | May 4th, 2014|Categories: Environment, News|Tags: , |

Sakdrisi. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Saturday, there was a scuffle between a journalist and guards working for RMG Gold, a Russian mining company digging in a prehistoric cave complex in the south of Georgia. RMG Gold issued a statement saying that their guards were confronted by a […]

Georgian PM claims campaigners undermining government

By | May 3rd, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili claims a campaign to reign in illegal surveillance is an attempt to undermine the government. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili says demands by influential NGOs to refine legislation to prevent illegal wiretapping is an attack against the government. After the Saakashvili regime lost power in Georgia, several Tbilisi-based […]

Georgia passes modified anti-discrimination bill

By | May 2nd, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

Priests organized several demonstrations against the bill, here outside parliament in Tbilisi. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Lawmakers in Georgia on Thursday passed an anti-discrimination bill after being pressured from the European Union. The bill was slightly modified after criticism from the Orthodox Church. The Georgian Orthodoc Church was opposed to the bill because […]

Youth take the lead in marking Worker’s Day in Georgia

By | May 2nd, 2014|Categories: Society|Tags: , , , , |

Youth groups took the lead in marking International Worker’s Day in Tbilisi. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–In Georgia, the younger generation took charge in organizing demonstrations on the International Worker’s Day yesterday. Young Social-Democrats, Georgia’s Young Greens, Georgia’s Youth Trade Union Organization, Young Socialists and other groups […]

Dead diplomat’s family says death was suspicious

By | May 2nd, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Former Ambassador to Switzerland, Levan Mikeladze. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The family of a deceased diplomat claims that he did not die from natural causes. Levan Mikeladze was Georgian Ambassador to Switzerland. He died on April 26, 2009; officially from a heart attack. Mikeladze resigned in protest after President […]

Georgian minister asks NATO for air defenses

By | May 2nd, 2014|Categories: News, Security|Tags: , |

US Vice President Joe Biden and Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania. (Official photo.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s Defense Minister Irakli Alasania asks NATO to install air defenses and other military systems in Georgia. He made the call in a speech at the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based think tank, on Wednesday. “Now the West has to seize the […]

NATO’s Caucasus envoy visits Tbilisi tomorrow

By | May 1st, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

James Appathurai. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–NATO envoy James Appathurai will visit Georgia on Thursday. Appathurai, whose full title is NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, will meet with government members and the parliament, the Ministry […]

Youth groups in Georgia plan several rallies on May 1

By | May 1st, 2014|Categories: In brief, Youth|Tags: , , , , , |

Green Fist, one of the youth groups organizing rallies May 1. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Young people in Georgia plan to mark the International Worker’s Day, May 1, with rallies different places in the country. A rally will be held at Tbilisi State University at 14:00 by Young Social-Democrats, Georgia’s Young Greens, Georgia’s […]

Books brought to Georgia in WW2 to be returned to Germany

By | May 1st, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

Germany offers to restore books kept at Tbilisi State University. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia has decided to return books currently at Tbilisi State University that were brought here from Germany during World War II. Shalva Tadumadze, the government’s parliamentary secretary, explained […]